If your dog has an elevated temperature, you may be looking for ways to lower your dog’s fever before seeing the vet. It could be your dog develops a fever at inconvenient times such as the middle of the night or on holidays, when all your nearby vet’s offices are closed and you may be trying to lower it at least until they are open. While mild fevers can be lowered at home, if your dog’s fever is very high, you need to see your closest emergency veterinary center at once. Most cities and large towns have a clinic where emergency vets are on staff 24/7.
My Dog Has a Fever, What Can I Do Until Seeing the Vet?
Answered by Dr. Jennifer Coates
Fevers are caused by many different health conditions such as infections (viral, bacterial or fungal), immune disorders, cancer, and more.
Since many of these diseases are quite serious and have a better prognosis if they are diagnosed and treated quickly, it is important that your dog see a veterinarian as soon as possible.
In the meantime, keep your dog comfortable by letting her rest in a cool environment and make sure that she has access to lots of clean, fresh water. Most dogs do not want to eat much when they have a fever. This is not a concern as long as she gets in to see the doctor within the next day or so.
Resist the urge to give your dog medications to lower her fever. Many human drugs are quite dangerous for pets, particularly if they are dosed incorrectly. Also, fever can help the body heal itself, so lowering a fever can actually prolong recovery. If your dog’s fever is very high (over 104°F or so), she should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.
About the Author
Dr. Jennifer Coates attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for her undergraduate training in biology. She then worked for several years in the fields of conservation and animal welfare before returning to her first love, veterinary medicine. She was valedictorian of her graduating class at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and has worked as an Associate Veterinarian and Chief of Staff in several practices in Virginia, Wyoming and Colorado.
Dr. Coates is also a veterinary advisor for several companies and the author of numerous articles, short stories and books, including the Dictionary of Veterinary Terms, Vet-Speak Deciphered for the Non-Veterinarian. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with her husband, children and pets.